Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Celebrate this Holiday Season in Southern California

If you want to get away from the snow for the holidays, Southern California is the place to be. With the extravagant light displays, beautiful Christmas trees, and varieties of outdoor activities, the holiday spirit is all around. Here are our top 3 hotels to visit during the holiday season.

1.     The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa.

This year, it is The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s 25th Annual Festival of Lights. This incredible light show is a six-week long spectacular filled with 200 animated figures, appearances from Santa Claus, falling snow, and immaculate Christmas trees. Stop by to catch the illuminated lights show followed by a stunning fireworks display. You won’t want to miss the rich tradition of Southern California on beautiful display at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa this holiday season.

2.     The Hotel Del Coronado.

The Hotel Del Coronado is widely known for its Skating by the Sea tradition, arguably the favorite holiday activity in all of San Diego. As the focal of the Hotel Del Coronado’s tradition is the skating rink, there is also a grand light display in the garden of the hotel, followed by Elf Tuck-Ins for your little ones, and Brunch with Santa for the entire family to enjoy. The Hotel Del Coronado is definitely on our list for holiday fun this year.

3.     Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.

If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday this season, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is the place to be. They bring the holiday to you, with decorated in-room Christmas trees, personalized stockings, and Elves who deliver their fresh baked cookies to your door. Wake up with Candle Light Yoga and end the night with s’mores roasting or horse-drawn carriage rides. The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa could be the hidden holiday getaway you’ve been dreaming of.

Monday, November 27, 2017

At the Omni Orlando, Bigger is Better

The Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate is a luxurious and large destination property just outside of Orlando, Florida. With over 800 sleeping rooms and complimentary shuttle service to the Walt Disney Theme Parks, it is the ideal starting point for your family vacation. Considering that the property just completed a $40 million expansion that added a 9th on-site restaurant and over 100,000 sq. foot of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space, it is hard to deny that the Omni Orlando is an ideal Meeting and Convention Venue as well. The property has multiple ballrooms, the largest of which can accommodate up to 3,000 people, with over 30 additional meeting spaces to accommodate meetings (big or small), and breakouts for a large conference. In addition to the meeting space, the Omni Orlando has upgraded its recreational space with additional cabanas, lounge chairs, and a brand new wave pool.

Image result for omni orlando resort at championsgate

The Omni Orlando is one of our favorite destinations in Orlando and with its new space and amenities, the experience here is hard to beat. We can’t wait to continue our partnership with this property!


Friday, October 13, 2017

What is Hospitality Without “People Serving People?”  

Robots at the front desk of the HENN-NA Hotel in Japan
Hotels are slowly replacing people with electronic devices, with machines becoming much more efficient now than ever, performing faster and better than humans at almost everything. Take Hilton for example. They have an electronic check-in option you can do over your phone, and “Connie,” an electronic concierge to assist Hilton guests worldwide. On the extreme side, we are already seeing robots take the place of an entire hotel, see the HENN-NA Hotel in Japan, where there are 140 robot workers and only 7 human employees. While you ask yourself “Will this trend stay? Will hotels be completely run by robots in 20 years?”, hotels are being run over by home sharing companies with human interactions, like Airbnb’s, instead.

Airbnb host greeting guest
In New York City, it’s been reported that hotels lose approximately $450 million of direct revenue per year from home sharing companies such as Airbnb. Many hotel chains, Hyatt and Wyndham for example, have already begun to invest in home sharing and are looking to work in association with them. With Airbnb, guests communicate with their host before, after and during booking, and their host is used as a resource for things such as restaurants and local attractions. People are utilizing home sharing companies at a steep upward pace, where they are feeling real live connections rather than using electronic devices.

Is it just a coincidence that as hotels input more efficient electronic devices, people are choosing human connection instead? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Micro Hotels Still on the Rise

Micro hotels are becoming extremely popular in the hospitality world. There are numerous hotels popping up that offer just the basic overnight accommodations, including a small space to sleep and shower, and most times only one option for food & beverage. There are no signs of wasted space with only necessary furniture in these rooms, with some micro hotels offering guests nothing except a tiny bed and a vending machine. The trend began in Japan as a capsule hotel, and it slowly picked up all over the world. Now you can find variations of micro hotels almost anywhere.

The most recent version of the micro hotel is Marriott’s new millennial-focused brand, Moxy Hotels. While not a true micro hotel, Moxy Hotels are on the smaller and more affordable scale, with on-trend interiors and “instagram-worthy” themes.

They just opened their newest hotel in Times Square, making it the 3rd in the U.S. and the 14th around the world that is open for reservations. There are 5 more locations in the metropolitan areas around the U.S. that are projected to open, including one in San Francisco and one in Seattle.

As part of the micro hotel trend, these boutique hotels have everything you’re looking for, and nothing you’re not. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Curio Collection by Hilton Gains the Iconic Hotel del Coronado

The Curio Collection by Hilton includes a collection of individual hotels and resorts each exclusive in their own way, and the Hotel del Coronado is its' most recent addition. 

As part of The Curio Collection by Hilton, the Hotel del Coronado's unique aspects will remain the same. Hilton plans to have a plaque at the main entrance of the hotel displaying their logo, with the main changes to be taken place at an operations standpoint.

The most exciting news about the addition to The Curio Collection by Hilton, is for the Hilton HHonors Rewards Members. Starting August 2017, you will be able to stay at the Hotel del Coronado by using your Hilton HHonors Rewards points.

For the business travelers frequenting the San Diego area, prepare to stay at the Hotel del Coronado in the near future. The hotel continues to attract corporate meetings with their vast meeting spaces and 679 rooms on property. With their award-winning fitness activities, like their Beach Spin, Sunrise Yoga, and 24-hour fitness center, it is a breeze to get a workout in through the busy day of a business traveler.

For those wanting to experience the hotel in its entirety, the Hotel del Coronado is a perfect place to create unforgettable memories. From their delectable Roast with s’mores on the beach, to riding quad-bicycles down the Silver Strand, there are endless opportunities to enjoy.

Whether you are traveling to the hotel for business meetings, or are looking to spend a fabulous vacation on the beach, you’ll be able to use your Hilton HHonors Rewards Benefits all the same.

With the Hotel del Coronado becoming part of The Curio Collection by Hilton, there are only good things in sight! For more information on this recent acquirement, visit http://www.curiocollection3.hilton.com   

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Best Places to Celebrate The Fourth of July
 From all of us here at MSP, we hope you had a safe and fun filled 4th of July! If you are already counting down the days until next year's celebration, or want to get a head start on planning for 2018 here is a list of the best places to celebrate the holiday. 

  1.   San Diego, California
Arrive early and spend the day at the beach with good food, your favorite beverage and even better company. After watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, set up your blanket to watch the fireworks from multiple locations such as, Shelter or Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Ocean Beach Pier, Seaworld, and the Coronado Landing Ferry, just to name a few.

     2. Navy Pier, Chicago

Everyone in the city will gather along the shoreline of the historic Navy Pier to watch the fireworks over Lake Michigan. For only $15 (per adult), you can get spectacular views of the fireworks while riding on the ferriswheel or strolling down Dock Street.
   3. Seattle, Washington

From children's games to beer gardens, you can bring the entire family to celebrate at Seafair Summer Fourth. And the best ways to view the fireworks, either on a boat on the beautiful Lake Union or on the grass of Gas Works Park. Or take advantage of various Fourth of July deals and try out the great bars and restaurants in the downtown area.

    4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

With its sandy shores and fun carnival rides, the festivities are ongoing in this great little beach town. Catch the boat parade in Murrells Inlet with numerous fireworks shows viewable from all along the shoreline. Pack blanket and some sparklers for the family to enjoy a warm July night under the stars. 

    5. San Francisco, California

Pier 39 will be buzzing with live music, street performers, and other festivities, while you explore this exciting city. For the best views, bring a beach chair and set up anywhere along the stretch from Pier 39 to the Aquatic Park. While you're waiting stop into the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory for some of their world famous chocolates or a refreshing chocolate shake and if the night gets a little chilly head over to Aioto's for some incredibly delicious clam chowder to warm you up.

   6. St. Augustine, Florida

Stroll around the historic downtown area for the biggest event of the year. Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot to watch the famous Orchestra perform before the firework show or to stake out a spot on the Bayfront between Castillo and the Bridge of Lions to view the fireworks above the ancient Castillo de San Marcos and Mantanzas Bay. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Don't Let Construction Threaten Your Meeting

Property construction isn’t always the first thing you think of when you’re planning your meeting, but it should definitely be high on your list. It is important to always ask, at the outset of the planning process, whether construction, renovations, or updates will be happening either over your meeting dates or in the time between contracting and program completion. Many planners overlook construction as an issue when they are initially told that the construction will be finished before their program arrives. However, it is very common for construction to get delayed, potentially causing changes to or cancellation of your meeting. Without contract language in place to protect yourself in these instances, a meeting could suddenly become very stressful and very costly.

When we know that construction delays are a possibility and our meeting may be affected, we generally ensure that the hotel is responsible for paying the other party for all increased costs it incurs to use a different hotel.  These costs can include refunding the deposit, food and beverage minimum difference, profit loss from lower attendance, air ticket changes, and more. Even with a clause such as this seemingly protecting you, we also need to make sure to be very aware of the language input elsewhere in your agreement. Some properties try to include relocation clauses requiring if alternate arrangements must be made, they must be made with a sister property. This means you could end up across the street, across the city, or in a completely different state depending on what hotel chain you are working with. It is important to make sure these clauses specify both the location of and the class of hotel you may be relocated to. It’s also a possibility that a property will later decide that they do not want to fulfill their part of the contract, in which case it can be very expensive to enforce your legal rights. It is imperative to include a provision that entitles the prevailing party to an award for all attorney fees and costs in the event of litigation. Protecting yourself isn’t limited to reviewing just one clause, but means creating a complete contract.

As a meeting planner, it is so easy to get so wrapped up in the details that we might overlook bigger issues. A well thought out plan is useless unless it can be executed successfully and a fully functioning venue is imperative to the meeting. Therefore, we always look to reduce any possible threats to your meeting. Starting with making sure we have complete information on who we are contracting with and negotiating an ironclad contract with them.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

West Coast Tops “Most Kid-Friendly U.S. Cities to Visit in 2017”

RewardExpert has just released their 2017 list of "Most Kid-Friendly U.S. Cities to Visit" and the West Coast has captured the first three spots. Topping the list are San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. Corrine McDermott mentioned that most families are gravitating towards destinations that are "clean, safe, and welcoming to children". Other notable mentions on the list include Miami, FL with the best amusement parks and Tampa, FL with the best kid-friendly hotels. 

1. San Diego

San Diego was ranked to have the best playgrounds in the RewardExpert article. The weather is perfect and sunny the entire year and it is close to many attractions like the World Famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Legoland, Seaworld, and the San Diego Safari Park. In addition, it is only a few hours from Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland, and Universal Studios. For more active families, San Diego has a variety of popular hiking trails.

2. San Francisco

San Francisco comes in second, and is also mentioned on the "top five" lists for kid-friendly hotels and kid-friendly museums. San Francisco is easy to maneuver with it's impressive transit system, ensuring all family activities can be checked off the list with ease. A notable mention is the Exploratorium, a science exhibit that has hundreds of exhibits for the entire family to enjoy. In addition, the Golden Gate Park offers over 1,000 acres of outdoor play space and there is free public access.

3. Portland

San Diego fit the beach and amusement park scene, San Francisco fit the city scene, and Portland rounds out the top three with a relaxing, laid back city atmosphere. Washington Park has one of the largest playgrounds in the city and Oaks Amusement Park is one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in the country. If that hasn't tired the kids out, take them to Playdate PDX, inside 7,500 square feet of playground fun. The city is easy to maneuver and it provides the same city experience, with an added down-to-earth quality.

To see the other top 12 cities that made the list, please visit the RewardExpert article here

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Inverness Hotel Joins Hilton Family


In March 2017, the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center transitioned to join the Hilton Hotels & Resorts Brand. This transition will not affect any withstanding guest reservations and it is the first step in a three-year property improvement plan. The Hilton Inverness Hotel is located in the Denver Tech Center, with easy access to Downtown Denver.

The property has over 60,000 square feet of IACC- certified meeting space. In addition, there is a massive 18-hole golf course on property. For guests traveling within a 5-mile radius of the hotel, they offer a complimentary shuttle service. The hotel has five on-property dining options including
  • Elevate Coffee Bar
  • Fireside Bar and Grill, which features authentic Colorado flavors
  • The Garden Terrace, a breakfast and lunch buffet
  • The Golfe Grill, a sandwiches and finger-food type restaurant
  • The Spotted Dog, a pub style restaurant

The Inverness Hotel is located at 200 Inverness Drive West in Englewood, Colorado. For more information or to make a reservation, please see their website here

Friday, April 28, 2017

Experience Desert Luxury at Mountain Shadows Resort


Mountain Shadows Resort was originally built in 1950, but the resort has been completely re-built from the ground up after it closed in 2004. The new hotel brings a modern twist to its original 1950s roots. Tucked away in Arizona, it is wedged in between Camelback and Mummy mountains and it has 183 rooms. The resort had it’s grand opening a few months ago.

The revamped hotel will have 12,500 sq feet of indoor and 25,000 sq feet of outdoor meeting space. In addition, the property also has a new 18-hole, 3-par golf course. Dining options include Hearth ‘61, which offers American cuisine, and Rusty’s, a patio and lounge.

For more information visit the Mountain Shadows Resort website here.

Hilton Bali Has It All


At the end of 2016, Hilton announced the grand opening of the Hilton Bali Resort on the Nusa Dua beach enclave on Bali’s southern peninsula atop a 40-meter cliff. The Hilton Bali Resort features 329 guest rooms and suites that overlook the Indian Ocean or some of the property’s private gardens. The property also has 19 luxury villas, each with it’s own separate living area, private plunge pool, gazebo, and round-the-clock butler service. The property has 6 different dining options including the Shiki Japanese Restaurant, Shore Restaurant & Bar, La Terrazza, Paon Bali Restaurant & Bar, Brasserie des Célébrités, and The Delicatessen.

The 28-acre compound boasts 8,470 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. Both of the conference centers specifically have pillarless ballrooms and can accommodate 1,500 guests. The resort also has the capacity for 9 different breakout rooms and pre-function space that overlooks the sea.

To learn more about the Hilton Bali Resort, check out their website here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hello Havana: Cuba’s Capital Plans for Five-Star Hotel


As Cuba prepares to put itself in league with the rest of the modern world, Europe’s oldest hotel group, Kempinski, announced the opening of a five-star modern luxury property in the heart of Old Havana. The Gran Hotel Kempinski Manzana La Habana is in the historic Manzana de Gomez building, a UNESCO world heritage site . The property mixes modern luxury with historic class to provide a unique guest experience.

The hotel will have 246 rooms and suites ranging from 430 to 1,615 square feet and decor that mixes clean white pieces with colorful accents. One of the revolutionary amenities of the hotel is the complimentary in-room internet, an impressive feature for a country that slightly struggles to keep up with the ever-changing modern technology. In addition,there will be three restaurants, a lobby bar, a spa, and a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool.

There is no date currently set for the grand opening, but the Kempinski website states that they aim for it to open within the second quarter of this year. More details can be found at their website.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Denver Welcomes Luxury with The Maven


On March 30, 2017, The Maven opened in lower downtown Denver (LoDo). The Maven is a luxurious independent hotel with 2,100 square feet of flexible meetings space that can accommodate meetings and events of all sizes.The hotel is already succeeding and is seeing sold-out nights only 5 days after it’s grand opening. 

Meetings and events at The Maven can expect to have a modern and unique experience. The space features stages that have garage doors to connect indoors and outdoors, dark wood floors and brick walls, and the option to split the ballroom based on client needs. Some of The Maven’s onsite food and beverage include Huckleberry, their coffee shop, Kachina Southwestern Grill, a breakfast to dinner Southwestern style restaurant, and Poka Lola Social Club, their cocktail lounge.

The Maven is located at 1850 Wazee Street, Denver, CO 80202. For more information on the hotel, visit http://www.themavenhotel.com/ .

Written by: Rachel DeVinny 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Global Meetings Industry Day 2017

On April 6, 2017 meetings and events professionals all around the world will join together to celebrate the Second Annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). It is anticipated that there will be 115 events over 30 countries taking part in the celebration.

If you are hoping to join in on the festivities, you don’t have to look far! The San Diego Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) will host a GMID event that evening from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Float at Coasterra. MPI will be celebrating the value of face-to-face meetings and will also be hosting their annual fundraiser and silent auction at the event. For more details, please click here.

GMID was created by Meetings Mean Business (MMB)  and aims to raise attention to the impact that meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows, and exhibitions have on people, businesses, and communities on a local and global scale. Check out the MMB website to learn more about GMID and to see if your local area is participating!

Written by: Rachel DeVinny

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Get the Vegas Experience in DMV

The MGM National Harbor Hotel and Conference Center is a new, splashy, $1.4 billion Las Vegas-style hotel unlike any other in DMV (Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia) region. They offer world-class amenities, service, and product with breathtaking views of the Potomac River and the nation’s capital. It’s Conference Center offers 50,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. With a powerhouse lineup of chefs, “Farm to bed” dining with fresh options are just a phone call or stroll away… check it out here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Steady Rise of the Boutique Hotel Collection

With many different hotel options, boutique hotels have become a top option for travelers of all types.  Boutique hotels are intimate in size and feeling, but big in personality. Most are typically centrally located in urban areas, so you can completely immerse yourself in the heart of the city. These properties offer exceptional, personal, and individualized service with a focus on customization. In the hotel restaurant and bar, you are likely to see a celebrity chef listed on the menu alongside the name of the mixologist who came up with the craft cocktail you are sipping on. This is just part of what creates the 5-star boutique experience.

Over the past few years, major hotels brands have jumped on the boutique hotel bandwagon and opened their own “soft” brand of stylish, intimate, and trendy hotels tailored to clientele that are not particularly interested in large brands. For example, Marriot kicked things off in 2010 with its Autograph Collection, now with over 100 locations around the globe. Hilton and Starwood followed suit with their collections, Curio in 2014 and Tribute Portfolio in 2015. Hyatt Hotels most recently launched the Unbound Collection with locations in North America, Europe, and Latin America.

So whether you prefer the more intimate feel of a B&B or the amenities of a big name brand, you might find just what you’re looking for in a boutique hotel!